The Daily Tar Heel

Serving the students and the University community since 1893

Saturday October 23rd

Mandatory courses change for journalism

Academic Advising announced changes in courses required by the media and journalism major in an email sent out Wednesday to students enrolled in the School of Media and Journalism. Students in the major are no longer required to take ECON 101, HIST 128, POLI 100 and POLI 101.

Charlie Tuggle, senior associate dean for undergraduate studies at the journalism school, is a member of the curriculum committee that implemented the changes. Tuggle said the committee constantly reviews the curriculum to determine if what is being taught is applicable for the major.

“As we were looking at the courses required outside of the J-School, it occurred to us that no one really knew why we were requiring HIST 128 or why we were specifically requiring ECON 101,” Tuggle said.

“So we looked at it, and we decided that there are actually several good courses offered by the University that fulfill the historical analysis box or fulfill the social sciences box. Why were we requiring these very specific courses?”

Tuggle said faculty recognized the need for the new changes and approved the new requirements in September. The changes had to go through the University level before they could actually be made.

He said feedback from senior surveys showed many students thought a lot of the required classes were useless and boring. The new changes are supposed to give students more freedom and flexibility.

Students are now required to take one of five political science courses, and students in the business journalism concentration are still required to take ECON 101.

“We are not lowering our expectations at all inside the school,” Tuggle said. “We still require rigorous classes and expect a lot of our students, but there was no real reason to be as restrictive as we were.”

Tuggle said he’s heard from many students who were already enrolled in ECON 101 or HIST 128 and were disappointed.

“You have to make the cut off somewhere,” Tuggle said. “I told them, ‘Years from now, you can tell your grandchildren that you were the last group coming through the J-School that had to take that particular class. You can wear it like a war wound.’”

Many journalism majors who have already taken the previously required courses said they do not have a use for them.

“ECON 101 was the death of me,” junior Ashley Pollard said. “I’m sad that I had to do it, but I’m happy for them not having to do it.”

Junior Vanessa Watson said some of those classes were her least favorite, and she wished the change in course requirements had applied to her earlier.

“I appreciate the change,” Watson said. “I didn’t necessarily think that those classes were necessary but would have liked to have that option too.”


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